Friday, October 7, 2016

Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody

I am delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Frances Brody's latest novel Death at the Seaside; the 8th book in the Kate Shackleton Mystery series. 

Having decided that nothing much happens in August lady detective Kate Shackleton heads off for a relaxing stay at the Royal Hotel in Whitby where she hopes to enjoy the sea view and plenty of fresh air and spend time with old school friend Alma and her daughter Felicity. 

However within hours of her arrival she stumbles upon the dead body of local jeweller Jack Phillips. Kate is particularly shaken as it was at Mr Phillips' shop that she and her beloved husband Gerald had chosen her engagement and wedding rings. So obviously returning to the jewellers alone was especially poignant for Kate. Having contacted the police Kate is perturbed to then become a suspect in Sergeant Garvin's investigation. However she soon discovers that Mr Phillips was a gentleman friend of Alma's and now Alma's daughter Felicity is missing along with Mr Phillips' boat. Kate knows that all the events are connected but she must investigate as discretely as possible to avoid Sergeant Garvin's suspicion but has Alma told her the truth?
This is the first of the Kate Shackleton Mysteries I have read and I have to admit I'm hooked. The books are set in the 1920s and Kate like many resourceful young women of the time has sought to achieve independence and has established herself in what many would see as a man's role as a private detective. Her husband was killed during the First World War and although this book has the genteel and easy feel of a classic cosy crime novel, there is still very much a sense of the visceral wounds of war. The characters, the setting and the era are very well set up, in particular the sense of a hidden world that takes place behind closed doors even in a small town where everybody knows each other's secrets; thus there are illicit affairs, elopements, smuggling and hidden resentments. 
I had no problem delving straight into the story despite not having read the previous books in the series, so I can recommend this book as both a stand alone and a new instalment. If you are a fan of Agatha Christie, MC Beaton or Jacqueline Winspear then this book is for you. I know I will certainly be reading more of this series.  

Thanks so much to Clara Diaz at Little Brown Book Group for a review copy of the book and a chance to be involved in the blog tour. 

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